This week marked our 3rd anniversary of being allotment holders, that time has really flown! It’s certainly looking ready for a rest now, with most plants dying off.
This year has actually been one of our most productive, despite the challenges the weather has thrown at us. Harvest is almost done, with only swedes, leeks carrots and parsnips remaining in the ground along with a few potatoes. It seemed a good time to have a round up of what we have done this year.
One of the things I was most proud of was our butternut squashes. Never before have I managed to grow them beyond early fruit formation, so I was exceptionally pleased that our plants yielded 14, all of which are quite large. We also grew 23 pumpkins of varying sizes. Three were eaten by something on the allotment so we brought the rest home a little earlier than planned to save them. I think some of our success may have been down to the fact we planted them where the previous tenant kept his chickens!
We also had a really good crop of beetroot. Along with the ones Mr C’s dad grew, I have pickled 17 jars of beet and made 26 jars of chutney (not all of it beetroot!)
Potatoes have been a mixed bag as around half of the crop was eaten by slugs. We haven’t used much in the way of slug repellents due to the dry weather but it seems they were still very active deep underground. Caterpilars also had a good old munch on the brassicas, but our chickens quite enjoyed the leftovers so it’s not so bad.
The beans gave us a good crop as always but we didn’t eat many, I’m not sure whether we will grow any next year.
The raspberries and strawberries never really produced gluts, but gave us enough to pick a few here and there. We also enjoyed our first ever allotment grown apple! They will all be moved this year so next year may be similar.
Our attention has now turned to preparing it for next year. We strimmed the weeds and are gradually digging out the roots. We are also considering larger changes, with moving several things to the front plot including the sheds, chicken coop and raspberries. There are still a few plants to dig up and compost, such as the dried up vines from all of the squashes. That should be a fairly nice easy job for a day day. In previous years we have not done much to tidy up in the autumn but this year I think we are a little more organised.
Over all, it’s been a pretty good year, with us trying to grow lots of new crops (some more successfully than others-the sweet corn must have been planted in such a way that pollination was not possible, and what we did get was nibbled by little friends!)
Which things have grown well for you? I know my UK readers will agree that it has been a weird year with a strangely short growing season, so I’ll be interested to see how others got on with their growing.